Monday, February 28, 2011

This is what Fashion Week NYC 2011 feels like. One word summation: amazing.

It is going to be difficult to adequately describe what I experienced at Fashion Week. Amazing is a decent start but really underestimates it. Imagine yourself in a movie, a really fabulous movie filled with some of the most beautiful clothes you have ever seen. It had people moving at high speeds, media and photographers 10 deep at certain points, a litany of very nice people and of course, very well known people in the industry. Sprinkle this with runway music that basically rocked me out of my seat and this was my experience.

Despite the brisk temps of NYC, I was prepared to be warm and prepared to take it all in. I go to NYC every year but I was but a mere neophyte at Fashion Week. JohnnyMac went to NYC with me but took a giant hall pass on attending any of the shows. Unlike my sassy nature might predict, I know precisely when to listen and observe. So much of it was new, I wanted to watch and learn. And there is so much to tell but I am going to break it down to my favorite experiences while there.

One of my favorite events was at Milk Studios in the Meatpacking district. During FashionWeek, MAC Cosmetics partners with Milk to showcase emerging designers. Thanks to my husband, the VIP status made for great seats and fantastic handling. I saw the Cushnie et Ochs show and it was fantastic. I am a big fan of their sleek, sexy and slightly edgy clothes. And the clothes I saw on other guests were just as fantastic. After the show, I met the designers, Carlie Cushnie and Michelle Ochs. They are both savvy, talented and lovely.

I also got a  little styling session which was also very cool. And then I went upstairs. The entire 8th floor was a private party that was in.cred.i.ble. The 8th floor is giant and every giant room held different designers, different cocktails and different presentations including this one from Duro Olowu. I lingered in and out of the VIP lounge and got to meet the Beauty Editor of Marie Claire who was so grounded, so cute, and so approachable. She is also very bright and gracious with conversation and the questions being posed to her.

I mingled, chatted and sipped delicious cocktails. On my way out, I was given not one but two gift bags, one of them from MAC filled with full-size MAC products. Really?  LOVE IT! 

The next day was spent at Lincoln Center; the hub of Fashion Week. After moving from Bryant Park last year, Lincoln Center is a fashion lover's dream come true during this week. Lights, camera, action is a totally apropos phrase.

The hub inside Lincoln Center is something to behold. There were endless big vendors passing out samples from Pepsi's new skinny can to Essie signing up people for manicures in their hottest nail hues. (Essie, the founder was there as well and she has to be 70 and is beautiful!.) I checked in and was immediately surrounded by style like I have never seen it. I saw everything from couture to knee high socks, ankle boots and short shorts. Everyone I met projected their own style and were very much looking at the other guests with admiration and not a shred of cattiness. I personally admired how people projected not only their style but confidence. And it showed.

When I sat down for the Carolina Herrera show I was quite giddy. I did a fundraiser with Saks two years ago and Carolina Herrera was the designer. Her clothes are GORGEOUS. I was texting a friend and look up to see straight across from me Anna Wintour. The woman next to me pointed out she did not have her sunglasses on and two seconds later, she slid them on and didn't make a single facial expression the entire time.

A few seats down was Oscar de la Renta looking totally chic, totally dapper. And when a huge paparazzi hubbub exploded, and what seemed like about 100+ photographers were moving in a pack surrounding someone, the crowd parted and the gorgeous Christina Hendricks sat down across from us as well. She is stunning and was clearly a hit at the show. Gabrielle Union sat next to her and she looked gorgeous too. LOVED her dress. No, I did not talk to any of them. But, I did use my phone to casually snap a photo (clearly with no flash) but also without looking at it which explains the bad focus.

The clothes were so fab. Here are just two items I loved from the show. The music, the clothes, and the talented Ms. Herrera herself made this show another favorite.

Afterward, I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Zee. He is the Creative Director and #2 in charge at Elle Magazine. He was probably my favorite person I met during the entire trip. He is so down to earth and charismatic. I loved talking to him. I asked him the number one trend he would like to see disappear. His answer: Harem Pants. AMEN! (Ironically, the next designer's show I went to featured multiple models in harem pants.) He also said fashion should not be focused on, "This girls looks good. That girl looks bad," but about the style elements available and how women can wear them to their own individual taste.

Big highlight of the day: Joe Zee told me he loved my outfit, especially my jacket. After he started chatting with someone else, the guy next to me leaned over and whispered, "That is Facebook status update worthy." haha. I will freely admit, having Joe Zee say he loves your outfit is pretty fantastic. AND totally justified the purchase of every. single. piece. I will say, I was wearing my favorite black tuxedo jacket JMac gave me and a pair of leather leggings inspired by an outfit I saw the night before.Oh, and some crazy shoes I love from BCBG.

After hours of fun and play, I took a break and to meet JMac for lunch. Upon leaving, I was given this: The most amazing swag bag I have ever been handed. I wasn't prepared for the heavy duty and thought my arm would pull from the socket. The woman told me it weighed about 15 pounds. Full of all kinds of Fashion Week love...and love it I did. I am still pouring over things in that bag ranging from a fab red acrylic tumbler to nail polish, hair products, a notebook, travel mug etc, canvas tote bags, lotion etc etc etc. Dear Fashion Week, THANK YOU for basically giving me a present for coming to this fantastic event.

All in all...amazing. And I definitely will go back but perhaps in September with a bit warmer weather. We rounded out the rest of the trip with great dinners and great wine. Which I earned because I worked out every day I was there!  And I love that not only did my husband: 1. surprise me. 2. plan an incredible trip. 3. go with me even though NYC is not his favorite weekend destination 4. support the inspiration to shop. Oh, I shopped. I actually took an empty suitcase with us. Not empty on the return. 5. concur we need to come back for Fashion Week again but most importantly, 6. He let me really, really enjoy the whole experience fully. Which I was and am so grateful for, I sent him a thank you note. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Viva la Friday

Ok, I am trying to condense my love for Fashion Week into a few pics and a few paragraphs. Might be easier to ride a goat in a float parade. But I am getting closer.

As some of you know, I also started freelance writing several months ago and it seems I am on article deadline every other day. Feels great to be paid. Feels great to work with editors. Feels less great to grow carpal tunnel in my arms like weeds in your flower garden. BUT, during our fun-filled, sun-filled weekend in Atlanta, I am going to put together a fun post about Fashion Week. Which, by the way, I feel I am still buzzed week is that intoxicating.

Have a gorgeous weekend ladies and gents.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The simplest way to kill romance

The simplest way to kill romance with your husband: 

Wait until your son is fast asleep.

Enjoy a fabulous meal and glasses of vino with husband.

Thoroughly enjoy that this meal and beverage is without your son's frequent call of " MOMMMMMMY" and "DADDDDDDDDY" which goes on, oh, about 20 times per day and sounds VERY MUCH like Whitney Houston calling "BOBBBBY, BOBBBBBBBBBBY."

Enjoy the vino a little too much and have several additional glasses.

Fail to realize that vino + waking up at 6 am + a long run that day does not equal high energy.

Let vino catch up to you but not before your husband goes to make his move.

As you promenade to your boudoir start singing "Mr. Golden Sun" a toddler song you learned from your son.

Fail to realize that "Mr. Golden Sun" while popular in your son's classroom, is NOT popular with your husband.

Fail to stop singing "Mr. Golden Sun" so your husband exits boudoir to brush his teeth, hoping, you will cease and pronto.

Fall asleep before your husband returns.

I could blame it on the early morning, long run and extra vino but we have had all that before. I blame it on Mr. Golden Sun.

Word to the wise: Singing "Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me..." = NOT an aphrodisiac.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I do my little turn on the catwalk...

MiniMac is off to his grandparents tomorrow. It is time for an adults only weekend/weekday getaway. As soon as we kiss that little man goodby, we are flying to:

Why? Because:

But also because I will be watching this for several days:

One of my amazing Christmas gifts from JMac was a well-crafted and well-orchestrated surprise trip to NYC for Fashion Week. I get to see some of my favorite designers and access to meet several new ones. I am trying to quell my giddiness. But why should I? I know. I should not. When JMac told me, I made an enthusiastic sound. Something like a squeal. A sound I didn't think I could reproduce since I was wearing my cheerleader uniform in high school. But it did prompt me to pull out my new Valentino tuxedo jacket and do my own little turn on the catwalk. But trust me, in the Apple, I will leave the real work to the professionals.

Looking forward to the Fashion Extraordinaire, some gorgeous dinners, great wine, a little Valentines Day love, and some time alone with JMac. And I fully appreciate the lengths he goes to to give amazing and thoughtful gifts. Although, the first time we went to NYC together, we brought home an amazing yet unplanned souvenir. His name is MiniMac and he just turned four. And no, we are not planning on that same unplanned activity.The only souvenir I plan to bring home is present for MiniMac. Oh, and maybe a little Chanel for my arm.

Have a fabulous weekend and week. I will be back on Thursday!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Not too hot for teacher

My last year of undergrad, I taught a freshman course. It was a Student Leadership class focused on current events as well as basic University 101 to ease transition from high school to college. I taught two semesters and had about 30 freshman in each class. Most of them were fantastic. However, you will always have at least one jackass challenge.

Early on in my first semester of teaching, one particular student loved to ask banal questions irrelevant to the discussion. This went on three times a week. Usually harmless albeit annoying. His topics ranged from Rice Krispies to why can't freshman drink legally. One day he brought up University policies and the Chancellor. I encouraged him to stay on topic but would be happy to chat after class.  He asked me what I was going to do when his Dad called me to ask the same questions.

I said, “I am going to tell your Dad that I hope he enjoyed making his initial investment to the University and perhaps he could come to campus for a game or two before you fail all your classes and don’t return for next semester."


Then: “I am not going to fall all my classes,” he said with less veracity.
"Likely failing this one.”

He was much more congenial after that episode. But he didn’t quite get me the world's best teacher mug that year.

The second semester, all of my students were great. And the semester clicked along well. However, the week after spring break, when people are still in vacation mode and hesitant to jump back into academia too quickly, one night found me out with many friends at a great bar across the river called Johnny’s. In addition to consumption, there was loud music, dancing on chairs, and there may or may not have been a cigarette or two involved. At one point, while on top of chair wailing away to that once awesome song, Here Comes the Hotstepper, I get a tap on my leg. There is Josh, a student from my Student Leadership class. As I get down from the chair, long neck of Bud in one hand, and possibly a Marlboro Light in the other (during a very brief social smoking phase), he turns to the man next to him and says (quasi-shouts) “Dad, this is Jenny. I am in one of her classes. ”
We move away from the vortex of the mayhem and the conversation continues. 

The Dad says, “My son tells me you’re one of his professors.” I think it was a question more than a statement. I am certain he is envisioning how much simpler it would be too simply take his money and throw it in the river for how impressed he can certainly NOT be with the vignette he is seeing.

Me: No, I am not a professor actually. And certainly not a drinking, smoking, dancing on a chair professor but I do teach one of his classes. I smile. See, isn't this conversation fun!

The Dad: They allow non-faculty members to teach classes?
Me: Well, I am an honors student and it is a student leadership class.
The Dad: What year are you?
Me: I graduate this semester.
The Dad: And then what?

Uncomfortable. And wow, this feels like a significant number of questions. I notice Josh seems giddy like its a day at the beach club.

Me: And then I will be attending law school.

I am certain he is envisioning how the legal profession is no longer straight and narrow. Thankfully I am not wearing a crop top which I assure you were 1. fashionable at the time and 2. a staple in my wardrobe. I wait for the blow, except he tells me he is an attorney. And that it never hurts to blow off a little steam.

Steam! Precisely! And at the time it made me realize, as a kid or even a high school student you have no idea what your teachers are like as people. And I am sure many of them are driven to drink after spending the day with other people's children. Even the good ones.

The following week, Josh tells me how “awesome” it was that he saw me “out tearing it up”. I told him his parents must be pretty cool. He said his Mom was pretty displeased when she found out he was in a bar with a fake ID but that she was none too thrilled when he told her he was "partying" with one of his teachers there. Another shot at the title mug, ruined.

(And next class lesson included just a few words about the art of discretion for example do NOT tell your Mom you think it is "awesome" you saw your teacher "out tearing it up". Ever. Dads might like to hear their son make this statement. Moms will not.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love in a brown paper bag

MiniMac's school has a chef. He explained to me on the way home last night that he had cornbread and grilled chicken for lunch. I have had some great lunches in my day but certainly not cornbread and grilled chicken. Especially as a four year old. It did remind me of something though. Do remember sack lunches? The kind we used to carry to school way, way back in the day?

In high school, I was a picky eater and we often opted to exit campus. Unless, of course, it was tater tot and yummy chocolate brownie day and then I would be first in line in the cafeteria.  But before this time frame, when I believed Tater Tots and Grape Slurpees were perfect food groups, I used to take my lunch to school in that old familiar brown paper bag.  

Every day, I mandated virtually the same contents. Unsavvy to the foodie world as a little elementary school child, don’t think for a minute I was furnishing mozzarella and basil on foccacia during lunchtime. I was fully committed to the dual champions: Peanut Butter and Jam OR Peanut Butter and Honey. I would only use raspberry jam and wanted no jelly of any kind. And heaven forbid some silly parent in my house tried to fool me and use the very end piece of the bread to make my sandwich. We called this very end piece the "butt" of the bread. That had as much appeal as a tray of dog food.  And certainly remember fighting with my brother over who would NOT have to have the "butt" of the bread at dinner. I often won. But not without a punch in the arm in exchange.

As for the bread it was white bread only, don’t try to multi-grain me. Once, my Mom sent me to school with wheat bread. Poor spoiled girl, you would think my sandwich with laced with plutonium. And I liked fruit but please don’t try to put some carrot sticks in there. We are getting nowhere fast with carrot sticks. And once I stayed over at my Father’s and he sent me to school with some kind of corned beef and cabbage. That gave me all the trading power of a plate of dead bluebirds. It must have scarred me because to this day I have never eaten that sandwich. Yes, I am sure  it is good. Yes, I should move past it. But I don't seem to have it in me.

And the days my Mom's homemade chocolate chip cookies were hidden inside? The best. Followed by her PB cookies. Then snicker doodles. Then gingersnaps.

But what I remember most were the notes.

Every day my Mom would spend the time to write out a note. A little reminder. Maybe a tiny poem. A tribute to us and how much we were loved. Often, the front of the pale and nondescript bag was decorated as well.

For 9 months out of the year, if that brown bag went to school, so did that note. We knew we were loved, but the notes were just extra testimony. And when you are a kid, who believes you are 9 feet tall and indestructible, the note was a warm reminder. But on the day when you got into an argument with a friend, or your team lost kickball, or you did poorly on a spelling test, those things seem like insurmountable and devastating events in the mind of an 8 year old. And on those days, that note was a powerful reminder that everything would be fine. If not at school that day, then the minute you got home.  

Maybe the sack lunches are a thing of the past. Kids use debit cards to buy lunches from the "green" counter and have unlimited text messaging so notes might not even be necessary. Maybe I will slip MiniMac a note one day in the fine gray area of time before his parents are not his favorite people and a simple note would embarrass him. But they never embarrassed me.  To me, those tiny notes were a giant symbol. 

Of course, as long as they were not wrapped around any carrot sticks. Or tucked next to a sandwich made from the “butt” of the bread.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?

One of my close friends in undergrad, Jen, later went to medical school. During her second year of residency, she was out gallivanting one evening and met a handsome rascal. As he chatted her up, she asked him what he did for work. He told her he just started medical school. She asked him a few questions about classes, to which he gave vague answers in a smarmy voice. And then with a wink and a smile he concluded it was probably over her head. 

I am not an expert, but I might suggest that one definitive way not to get an invite home is to basically tell a very attractive girl she is too stupid to understand you are elbow deep in cadavers and learning about biochemistry, neuroscience, and clinical ethics. 

She, being ever poised, merely laughed inside. Young buck, oh so full of confidence and swell. Later that night she ran into him again and he actually asked for her number, she smiled. She then got a bar napkin upon which she wrote:

Dr. Jennifer  _________

Not only did she handle it with class, but because she was still smart ass enough to write the phone number Tommy Tutone made famous. And clearly, who is the idiot? I don't think you need to be the rock star of Trivia Thursdays to recognize that number if you merely say it out loud. And now I can say that the definitive way not to get invited into PantyTown is to tell a super cute girl she is too stupid to understand medical school when she is already a DOCTOR.